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Meretz, Yesh Atid ranked most environmental parties; New Hope, Yamina score high

Parties on both right and left deemed most green by environmental group; religious parties, Yisrael Beytenu get the lowest marks

Head of the left-wing Meretz party with supporters outside of the Education Ministry in Tel Aviv, February 9, 2021. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Head of the left-wing Meretz party with supporters outside of the Education Ministry in Tel Aviv, February 9, 2021. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

An environmental group named the centrist Yesh Atid party and the left-wing Meretz as the most environmentally-friendly political parties running in next week’s election.

The rankings were not split between left- and right-wing parties, as the right-wing New Hope and Yamina factions also earned high marks.

The list was compiled by the “Choose Green” group, an outfit of activists and organizations attempting to raise the profile of environmental issues in public and political discourse.

To compile the rankings, the group researched party platforms, public statements and previous legislative activities by the parties. The rankings are based on approach to issues including climate, energy, transportation, nutrition, agriculture, economic investments, pollution and environmental education.

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid at the Channel 12 ‘Influencers Conference’ in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Meretz were awarded a score of five out of six for their environmental policies. Also leading the list was Yaron Zelekha’s New Economics Party, which is still running in next week’s election but has virtually no hope of securing enough votes to win representation in the Knesset.

Meretz’s three leading candidates — Nitzan Horowitz, Tamar Zandberg and Mossi Raz — are strongly identified with environmental issues, the report noted.

Lapid has turned more to environmental issues recently and is making the cause more of a focus in his recent campaign, the report said.

Following Meretz and Yesh Atid, with a ranking of four out of six, were Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party, Naftali Bennett’s Yamina and Merav Michaeli’s left-wing Labor.

One of Choose Green’s co-founders, Victor Weiss, lauded a Sa’ar press conference dedicated to environmental issues. New Hope candidate Sharren Haskel is also a prominent animal rights activist.

“In Yamina, candidate Amichai Chikli is focusing on the subject, and showing a great commitment, and the party is presenting a meaningful platform for the first time,” Weiss said.

In the middle of the pack, with a ranking of three, was the centrist Blue and White, the Arab-majority Joint List and Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud.

Religious factions accounted for most of the lower-ranking parties.

Then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman, left, with Knesset Finance Committee chair MK Moshe Gafni during a Finance Committee meeting at the Knesset on December 6, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

The right-wing Religious Zionism, ultra-Orthodox Shas and the secular, right-wing Yisrael Beytenu earned a score of two.

At the bottom of the rankings were the Islamist Ra’am faction and ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism, with a score of one.

The elections, Israel’s fourth in two years, will be held on Tuesday.

The issue of the environment took center stage in Israel several weeks ago after a tar spill at sea contaminated much of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline and devastated wildlife. The disaster has focused more attention on the marine ecosystem and its vulnerabilities.

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